Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for eXtermination

Day 18 of the trip.  The morning was spent at the Eagle's Nest high in the Alps, and then the afternoon was spent in Dachau.


Dachau was the first of Hitler's concentration camps, opening soon after he became the Reich Chancellor.  If he didn't like you, he had a solution and this was it.  Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, Sinti, Romas, political opponents, were the first to be targeted before the war even broke out in 1939.  It only got worse from there.


Call it extermination, ethnic cleansing, purification of blood lines, it has happened over and over again in the history of man.  Every powerful country on Earth has inflicted horrors on a population they deemed unworthy.  Americans have only to look at the treatment of native American Indians before casting aspersions on other countries.  There is a lot of blame to pass around.

World War II and the Nazi Party took it to a whole new level of being an unimaginable atrocity.







 Translation: "Work Makes You Free" - Arbeit Macht Frei



Below is the area where the barracks for prisoners stood.

The crematoriums:




A restored barrack:



Update:  I did not realize at the time I was posting this that today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.

On my Bucket List:  Xian, China

10 comments:

  1. Urgh awareness is good but so hate this, makes me go cold with all the things one has seen on this :(

    ps hello from another a-z blogger, how is it going for you?

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    1. I was told when I was there that going to Dachau is required of every student in Germany and Austria prior to graduation. We either learn from history or repeat the same ugliness. Traveling in Germany is not just about drinking beer.

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  2. And yet there are still people out there who say the holocaust didn't happen. That is more frightening than many things which are scary. There was an article on facebook about such a group only last week.

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    1. When I was at Dachau, we heard that there are people who had accused the Allies of building the crematoriums after the end of the war and then blaming it on the Nazis. I guess it takes all kinds.

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  3. It is so important to visit these places. I never knew until the past 5 years that 7 million Ukranians died in one year due to the Stalist regime and considering what is happening today it is scary. My own Grandfather, my opa, spoke out against Hitler as he was for the old world of the Kaiser. He was taken away and placed in a camp and was in and out until the war ended. Since they were in Eats germany after, my Opa was then placed in a Russian Gulag as instead of being blamed as a communist he was now blamed as a fascist and placed in the gulag. he was in and out of that prison until 1950 abnd my mom helped him escape into the West. I am glad you brought this up. it always needs to be talked about and that everyone who did not conform or was not "ideal" was sent there.

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    1. I am currently reading a book on Russian history. I had no idea that they had gone to war with so many countries. I discovered that my grandfather immigrated to the US from Russia, but have no idea how he got from Lodz, Poland to Russia and then to Hamburg to board a ship. He never discussed his life before coming to America in 1913. So much to learn about.

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  4. Denise, this is a powerful and meaningful post. Your photographs say so much. One of my grandfathers immigrated from a village outside of Lodz also, a few years earlier than your grandfather. The village, Bolechow, no longer exists.

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    1. I know that some folks will find these last posts of the challenge disturbing. And they are. That is precisely why I chose to write about them.

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  5. That must have been quite a sobering place to visit. I can't imagine. Did you see the Twilight Zone where a former SS captain returned to the ruins of a Dachau concentration camp? The ghosts get him! I wondered when I saw that if those places still stood...I believe it was mentioned in the episode, even..that the ruins stand as a remembrance of what happened. The episode was called Deaths-Head Revisited.

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    1. There is a museum you can walk through just as prisoners would have done on arrival.

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